Texas Teacher of the Year Plays Santa for His Students

Eric Hale wanted to make his students' Christmas the best one yet

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Eric Hale wanted to make sure his students at David G Burnet Elementary in Dallas were fed over the holiday break, so he started a food drive, but it turned into something much greater.

"They know they're gonna get something, but they don't know the scale of what they're gonna get," Hale said, explaining that he collected enough donations to buy each of his first and second-graders about 20 gifts. "We're talking about Frozen. We're talking about the Trolls. We're talking about anything that they could have ever really wanted."

Hale is the reigning Texas Teacher of the Year. He said it's not just about the tests or even the gifts.

"I'm trying to be... not the best teacher, but the most impactful educator," Hale said. "If one of the children that I help today remembers this for the rest of their life, and this sparks their curiosity into education, that student could become a teacher that's 10-times greater than me."

Hale was also able to buy gifts for a special needs class. He also adopted a student whose mother died from cancer to buy gifts for her, too.

"I do not want COVID to get the last laugh at the close of this year," Hale said. "My students deserve a great Christmas!"

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